Greater Ancestors

World Museum

Ancient Giant Trees, Thailand

tree giant

“Fossil trees that approached the heights of today’s tallest redwoods have been found in northern Thailand.

The longest petrified log measures 72.2 meters (237 feet),

which suggest the original tree towered to

more than 100 meters (330 feet)

. . .

The trees appear to have been closely related to a species alive today called

Koompassia elegans,

Eucalyptus (gum trees) of Australia and Sequoia (redwoods) of California.  can reach about 130 meters (425 feet) in height.

Interestingly, there are no trees living today in Thailand that approach the size of the ancients.

“Highest trees nowadays in Thailand are almost 60 meters (200 feet),” wrote Philippe in response to my email query about his new paper coming out in the April issue of the journal Quaternary Science Reviews. ”To my knowledge the highest tree yet recorded in Thailand is a Krabak tree, belonging to the Dipterocarpaceae (‘tropical oaks’), 58 meters (190 feet) tall.”

The sediments in which the fossil trees were found suggest that they lived in a wet forest at the edge of a lowland plain. Today the fossil trees are at an elevation of 170 meters (550 feet) above sea level and the climate flips between wet and dry seasons — what’s called monsoonal. .

“The result was the appearance of what

is considered the world’s longest piece of petrified wood,

with a length of 72.22 meters” (236.9 feet), the researchers report. “In 2006, the name of the park was changed to the Petrified Forest Park because of the fascinating discoveries.”

As to why there were big trees in the past that are unrelated to today’s giant trees, (except when the trees are in light of greater ancestry) . . .

Images: The largest unbroken petrified tree trunk in the world (right). The reconstructed tree with a modern giraffe beside it for scale (images courtesy of Marc Philippe, Université de Lyon).

This giant  petrified tree can be linked directly to its weaker descendant Koompassia elegans, The same tree in the same area just shrunken due to devolution.

~Chris L Lesley